West Virginia Becomes the 29th Medical Marijuana State

Today, West Virginia officially became the 29th state to pass medical marijuana legislation!

Gov. Jim Justice signed the law today after the bipartisan bill passed both the Senate and House earlier this month.

While the law isn’t perfect, it’s a great start toward providing safe and legal access to medical marijuana for qualifying patients. A summary is available here.

This achievement didn’t happen overnight. In fact, MPP, along with many other advocates, has been working tirelessly to get a medical marijuana bill passed for…

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Sessions’ DOJ Reviewing Marijuana Enforcement, Governors Fight Back

Jeff Sessions speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC. (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

This week, Attorney General Jeff “Marijuana Consumers Aren’t Good People” Sessions issued a memo outlining a requested task force inquiry into a number of public safety issues, one of which being the enforcement of federal marijuana laws.

The memo was sent to 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Department of Justice component heads to provide “an update on the Department¹s Task Force on…

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Colorado governor suggests he may veto pot clubs bill without changes

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday expressed reservations about two major pieces of marijuana legislation in Colorado — in one case citing concerns about the Donald Trump administration’s potential crackdown.

The Democrat pledged to veto a measure that won preliminary approval in the state Senate earlier in the day to allow pot clubs with local approval. To win his support, Hickenlooper said the measure needs to ban smoking marijuana indoors.

Under the bill, Senate Bill 184, local…

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Marijuana in the age of Trump: An untenable conflict between feds, legalized states

Legal weed is at a crossroads.

While some cannabis legalization proponents claim their movement has grown too big to fail, it has also proved too significant for the federal government to ignore.

The Trump administration is mulling its approach to the state-regulated systems that conflict with federal law. On Capitol Hill, conversations about legal cannabis have picked up steam.

Amid a time of unknowns surrounding federal marijuana policy, one thing is certain: The status quo is no longer…

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Five Reasons Trump Needs to Think Twice Before Waging War on Weed

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Ottumwa, Iowa in January, 2016. (Flickr/Evan Guest)

White House press secretary Sean Spicer‘s comment last week that we “will see greater enforcement” of federal marijuana prohibition has set off tremors in the pot industry, but it should be setting off warning bells at the White House itself.

Any move against marijuana would be politically fraught, economically foolish, and counter to some of the Trump administration’s other…

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US Attorney General: “We Do Not Need To Be Legalizing Marijuana”

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) listens to a question during confirmation hearings on Tuesday, January 10, 2017.

WASHINGTON, DC — Speaking to a gathering of state Attorney Generals this week, newly sworn in US Attorney General Jeff Sessions blamed recreational drug use for an alleged increase in violent crime and urged officials to reject efforts to regulate the adult use of cannabis.

Sessions disputed scientific evidence that legal cannabis access is associated with lower rates…

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Colorado AG says she has invited Jeff Sessions’ staff to see the state’s recreational marijuana system

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said she has invited U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions — a  vocal marijuana opponent — and his staff to come and see the state’s recreational pot industry.

Coffman told The Denver Post that the invitation was extended during a meeting Wednesday morning in Washington with Sessions’ top staffers.

“I had a meeting there this morning and told them that I thought it was important to come to the states that have legalized marijuana,…

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MPP’s Rob Kampia Responds to White House Comments

MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia just published a new article in Huffington Post in response to recent comments by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer sparked a flurry of media coverage last Thursday, February 23, when he uttered approximately 320 words about federal marijuana enforcement.

He did not articulate any new policy positions for the administration, which was good, because Donald Trump entered the White House with the best position on marijuana policy of any incoming president in…

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Trump Vows to Win War on Drugs, But Doesn’t Mention Marijuana

In his inaugural address to Congress Tuesday night, President Trump echoed the ghosts of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan—not to mention Miguel Cervantes—as he vowed to defeat drugs.

If there is a silver lining, his ire appears directed at heroin and other hard drugs. The word “marijuana” did not appear once in his speech.

“Our terrible drug epidemic will slow down and ultimately, stop,” he promised as part of a litany of MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN accomplishments to come…

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Sessions: More violence around marijuana than ‘one would think’

Read the whole story at The Cannabist.

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White House press secretary’s full comments on cannabis

Asked twice by reporters on Thursday about the Trump administration’s approach to the legal marijuana industry, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had the following response.

When initially asked about the disconnect between federal law and state medical marijuana laws, Spicer replied:

“There’s two distinct issues here: medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. I think, medical marijuana, I’ve said before, that the president understands the pain and suffering that many people go through who are facing, especially terminal…

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NORML Responds to Possible Federal Crack Down on Legal Marijuana

WASHINGTON, DC — White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer suggested this week that the Trump administration will step up enforcement of federal laws against recreational marijuana.

“I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement,” Spicer said, and added that the exact policy is “a question for the Department of Justice.”

The Department of Justice is lead by Jeff Sessions, a renowned ardent marijuana prohibitionist.

“If the Trump administration goes through with a…

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White House Press Secretary Hints Federal Marijuana Crackdown May Be Forthcoming

WASHINGTON, DC — White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday said that the Trump administration may engage in “greater” efforts to enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in jurisdictions that have legalized and regulated its adult use.

In response to a question regarding how the administration intends to address statewide marijuana legalization laws, Spicer indicated that the administration views the regulation of marijuana for medical purposes as distinct from laws governing…

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Wall Street takes notice of marijuana: Q&A with cannabis analyst Vivien Azer

By Omar Sacirbey

Vivien Azer, apparently the first cannabis analyst at a mainstream investment bank, is bullish on the marijuana industry.

And her confidence in the market is a significant reflection of how Wall Street views cannabis. Azer is an analyst at Cowen and Co., a New York investment bank founded in 1918.

Her belief in the marijuana industry was reinforced last month when 150-plus investors – including representatives from such prestigious financial institutions as Blackstone Group, Fidelity Investments and Janus Capital Group –…

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In the Time of Trump, Can Congress Take the Lead on Marijuana Policy?

While the marijuana community — consumers, industry, and advocates alike — eyes with trepidation the reign of avowed anti-pot Republican Jeff Sessions at the Justice Department, the Trump executive branch isn’t the only game in town when it comes to making marijuana policy. Congress is back in session, and after last November’s legalization and medical marijuana victories at the polls, the pot state delegation is larger than ever.

And at least some of those senators and…

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Donald Trump Vows ‘Ruthless’ War on Drugs and Crime

(Flickr/Oregon Department of Transportation)

In a sharp break with the Obama administration, which distanced itself from harsh anti-drug rhetoric and emphasized treatment for drug users over punishment, President Donald Trump last week reverted to tough drug war oratory and backed it up with a series of executive orders he said were “designed to restore safety in America.”

“We’re going to stop the drugs from pouring in,” Trump told law enforcement professionals of the…

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What will be AG Jeff Sessions’ first move on marijuana?

A new lawman has come to town, and the marijuana industry could be in for major upheaval.

But just how much change Attorney General Jeff Sessions might impart — and how quickly he’ll address federal marijuana enforcement — remain the multibillion-dollar question.

“It’s not like you could see agents come into every storefront in the United States tomorrow and deal with this. That’s not a reality,” drug policy expert John Hudak said Wednesday.

But if Sessions rescinds the 2013…

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Where Does Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Come Down on Marijuana?

Neil Gorsuch hasn’t made any known public pronouncements about marijuana policy, and despite his tenure on the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, he hasn’t ruled in any cases that directly take up the issue.

But he has ruled on some marijuana cases, and he didn’t go out of his way to support freeing the weed in them. And there’s at least one marijuana-related case he’s ruled on that demonstrates a disquieting deference to law enforcement.

In Feinberg et al. v. IRS, Gorsuch ruled against a Colorado dispensary that sought…

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Illinois State Treasurer Urges Trump to Let Banks Work with Marijuana Industry

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs on Monday sent a letter to President Trump asking for “clear guidance” in allowing banks to do business with the marijuana industry.

Illinois is one of 28 states that allows medical marijuana under a state-supervised program.

Federal law currently prohibits banks from processing money from customers working in the legal marijuana industry, making it difficult for marijuana related businesses to do…

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NORML Releases Open Letter to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence on Marijuana Policy

Indiana Governor Mike Pence addresses a news conference where he was introduced as the vice presidential running mate of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in New York City, U.S., July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

National NORML, Michigan NORML and dozens of other state and local chapters have released an open letter to Vice President-Elect Pence seeking clarity and common sense from the incoming administration regarding marijuana policy.

During the campaign,…

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Hearing Set for Jeff Sessions Attorney General Nomination

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech hosted by Donald Trump at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (WikiMedia Commons/Gage Skidmore)

It’s official, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has set January 10-11, 2017 for the confirmation hearing of noted marijuana law reform opponent Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to become the next Attorney General.

Already it appears that Sen. Grassley will…

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Medical Marijuana Policy Roadmap: Solutions for State and Federal Law Conflicts

WASHINGTON, DC — Americans for Safe Access (ASA) on Thursday released a briefing book —“Medical Cannabis in America”— calling on Congress and the Obama Administration to end the conflict between federal and state governments on medical cannabis programs.

The report includes potential actions for President Obama to take during the lame duck session along with steps for the incoming Congress and President-elect Donald Trump.

ASA argues these suggestions would…

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Trump Nominates Another Drug War Zealot, General John Kelly, to Head Department of Homeland Security

Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, discusses the latest developments in his command’s efforts to stem the flow of drugs from South and Central America while briefing reporters at the Pentagon, March 13, 2014. (Department of Defense/Glenn Fawcett)

WASHINGTON, DC — According to multiple media reports Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump will nominate General John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security. Kelly served as head of…

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Trump Praises Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte On His Deadly War On Drugs

President Rodrigo Duterte (WikiMedia Commons)

On Saturday, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump held a telephone call with the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. According to Duterte, Trump praised Duterte’s deadly war on drugs and invited him to visit the White House. Upon assuming the presidency in June, Duterte made a public call for police and citizens alike to execute people who use or sell drugs, which has resulted in the murder of over 5,000 people…

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Trump Gets Behind Philippines Drug War Mass Murderer

Rodrigo Duterte (WikiMedia Commons)

Donald Trump’s seat-of-the-pants pre-inaugural telephone diplomacy is causing shock waves in diplomatic circles and world capitals around the globe, whether it’s getting all buddy-buddy with despots like Kazakhstan’s perpetual leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, throwing US China policy into turmoil by taking a call from the president of Taiwan, or insulting close allies like Great Britain by failing to reach out in a timely fashion.

But the…

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Week in Review: Lift for New York market, anti-MJ Trump choice & Canada rec development

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By Omar Sacirbey, John Schroyer and Bart Schaneman

New York’s lagging medical cannabis trade receives some good news, Donald Trump picks another marijuana critic for his cabinet, and Canada considers giving MMJ companies a leg up in the recreational market.

Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

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Medical marijuana businesses in New York, one of the most restrictive MMJ markets in the country, likely will receive a much-needed boost now that regulators have added…

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Trump Adds Another Marijuana Opponent to Cabinet

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) has been picked by President-elect Donald Trump as Health and Human Services secretary.  (photo/Gage Skidmore)

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) has been picked by President-elect Donald Trump as Health and Human Services secretary. (photo/Gage Skidmore)

President-elect Donald Trump has picked another marijuana opponent to join his cabinet, tabbing Georgia Rep. Tom Price to serve as  Health and Human Services secretary.

This could be bad news for state-sanctioned medical marijuana programs in the 28 states that allow it.  While the Department of Justice — which, if he is confirmed by the Senate,…

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Sore Losers: Some State Leaders Challenging Marijuana Election Results

Election-2016

Political leaders in several states are threatening to thwart the implementation of voter-approved initiatives specific to the regulation of marijuana.

In Massachusetts, where voters decided 54 percent to 46 percent on election day to legalize the cultivation, use, and retail sale of cannabis by adults, politicians have suggested amending the law and delaying its implementation. Specifically, lawmakers have called for pushing back the date when adults may legally begin growing…

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